Personal identity theft will almost certainly have a negative effect on your finances, but the other consequence from this criminal act is the impact it has on your mental health.

Online racketeering can leave you penniless, have you falsely arrested because of criminal identity theft or have bailiffs hammering on your door demanding payment for a loan taken out in your name.

As a result of this financial blow comes an impact on your mental health, an aspect of cybercrime which is often overlooked.

Financial

Financial complications caused by personal identity theft can last for months. If the cybercriminal has gained access to your personal details and has emptied your bank account, there is a chance your institution will not reimburse you.

So, never:

  • provide your bank details to a caller or in an email from someone claiming to be from your bank or the police. If you willingly provide these details, your bank is unlikely to reimburse you.
  • give a stranger your password or security codes to your accounts

And always:

  • report any suspicious activity on your account to your bank’s fraud team
  • freeze your account by calling the bank immediately once you realise your card has been stolen
  • call your mobile phone provider and block your phone immediately if it has been stolen.

A sound credit rating is important to all of us and if the thief has taken out loans in your name then it might take months to restore your good credit. This could have a huge financial impact on those of us who are planning to apply for a mortgage or need to take out a loan ourselves due to unforeseen circumstances.

Emotional

Financial loss is one thing, but with personal identity theft often comes an emotional consequence that can take years to overcome.

Cybercrime victims are almost always traumatised to some degree when not only have they been robbed, but a myriad of emotions ranging from annoyance and anger to depression and guilt.

The emotional impact on the victim depends on the level of cybercrime. Some people might feel initial shock or annoyance, followed by anger, while others take the invasion of privacy far more seriously and experience anxiety and depression.

Guilt is a common emotion following many a cyberattack. If the victim was duped into providing personal information that led to the crime, they will feel that they should have known better. If the crime has a financial impact not only on the invidual, but a family or an organisation, the victim will experience all the more guilt.

If personal slurs have been put about on social media under your name, then this type of personal identity theft can have a devastating effect on your mental health. This type of acrimonious activity could be aimed at ruining your reputation and clearing your name is going to take time.

If you are a victim of a cybercrime of any sort the UK’s Cyber Helpline can offer a range of advise and support to help you through your dilemma.